Iodine - what is the correct daily dose?
The benefits of micronutrients in modern medicine have been hugely dumbed down. The Government recommended daily amounts (RDAs) of micronutrients are the lowest levels required in order to prevent obvious pathology. These amounts do not reflect the optimum amount of micronutrient for optimum health. The two amounts (i.e. the RDA and the optimum amount) for individual micronutrients may be very different and this is well illustrated by iodine. It is now assumed that iodine is only necessary for the production of thyroid hormones, but actually breast tissue requires just as much and deficiency results in fibrocystic disease of the breast and in breast cancer. It is notable that countries with the highest iodine intake have the lowest risk of breast cancer. Indeed, a tendency to cysts generally, including polycystic ovaries, may well be an iodine problem.
A normal thyroid gland contains 50mgs of iodine, fat in the body and breast tissue contain 700mgs, striated muscle - 650mgs (lack of iodine in muscle may result in muscle pain). 20% of body iodine (about 400mgs) is present in skin and without it the skin cannot sweat.
Complete lack of iodine in the unborn infant and young child results in cretinism with severe mental deficiency. A deficiency results in low IQ. Mothers who supplement iodine during pregnancy have notably brighter babies!
Iodine is also essential for production of oxytocin. This hormone is the "love" hormone - it is what Puck must have given to Titania so she fell in love with Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream! Without oxytocin there is no empathy. Indeed, it has been postulated that there is a deficiency of oxytocin in autism and early trials have shown that oxytocin is helpful in this condition. See Oxytocin Infusion Reduces Repetitive Behaviors in Adults with Autistic and Asperger's Disorders in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.
Jean-Francois Coindet in 1820 used 250mg a day of iodine in order to treat goitre with great success. The French physician Lugol in 1829 used 37.5mg per day for the treatment of infectious disease, again with good results. Indeed, he developed Lugol's iodine, which was a mixture of 5% iodine with 10% potassium iodide, which greatly enhanced the absorption of iodine. British physicians then used between 20 and 40mg daily to treat both hyper and hypothyroidism, with some patients requiring 90mg daily. This resulted in a 90% success rate for treatment. It became recognised that there was a pandemic of iodine deficiency. As a result of this, iodised table salt was introduced generally and the benefits of iodine supplementation were forgotten. However, iodine competes with the other halogens (such as fluorine, chlorine, bromine) for absorption and adding iodine to table salt would have severely impaired its absorption as it lost out to chlorine in the salt. The situation has been made worse in recent years because many people are subjected to high levels of fluoride because of their water supply or because of dental treatments; bromine was routinely used in bread making and also as a fire retardant. Thus the high levels of chlorine, fluorine and bromine in our diet and the environment mean that we are all at great risk of iodine deficiency. Furthermore, the recommended daily amount of iodine is 150 μg - that is to say a thousand fold less than the sort of doses that were used in the 19th century.
Interest in iodine was re-awoken in 1993, when Gent demonstrated that 5mg a day of iodine is highly effective in the treatment of fibrocystic disease of the breast. A study in Japan showed that the average daily intake of iodine was 13.8mg (because of their high intake of seafood) and the Japanese have the lowest incidence of breast cancer in developed nations.
Work done by Professor Guy Abraham (whose work I have been following for many years now and whom I highly respect) has lit up an interesting new way of using iodine as a therapeutic intervention. Indeed, he quotes from the Nobel Laureate Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, who discovered vitamin C in 1928, who commented "when I was a medical student, iodine in the form of KI was the universal medicine. Nobody knew what it did, but it did something and did something good. We students used to sum up the situation in this little rhyme: If you do not know where, what and why, describe ye then K and I."
Abraham has developed Lugol's iodine into a tablet form (Iodoral) which is well tolerated. It contains a mixture of 5mg of iodine and 7.5mg of iodide. He recommends a three month loading dose of 4 tablets daily, starting off with 1 tablet a day for a week, then 2 tablets daily for a week, 3 tablets daily for a week and then 4 tablets. Absorption of iodine is enhanced by vitamin C 3 grams daily and this should be taken along with my standard recommendations for micronutrients (namely multivitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and of course vitamin C). After three months the dose should then be reduced to a maintenance dose of 1 tablet daily.
The clinical observations Abraham has made as a result of many patients taking this regime are as follows:
1. The excretion of mercury, lead, cadmium, aluminium, fluoride and bromine is hugely increased.
2. There is increased well being and energy levels with lessening brain fog.
3. Patients feel warmer, they seem to need less sleep, their bowel action becomes more regular and their skin complexion improves.
4. Interestingly, there is often an increase in body odour for the first two weeks (which probably represents excretion of toxins) and some patients have cloudy urine for several months.
This regime strikes me as being eminently sensible and safe. My online shop sells IODORX, which is equivalent to Iodoral. Please see Sales at DrMyhill IODORX tablets. Iodine can be stimulating and disturb sleep so it should be taken in the morning.
It is likely that anyone with hypothyroidism, especially when it is not due to autoimmunity, will be iodine deficient. Because iodine is so necessary in tissues other than the thyroid (eg breast, bone marrow, immune system, brain), the iodine levels should be tested by a urine test.
Symptoms of iodine deficiency also include high cholesterol, hypochlorhydria (see Heartburn - at last I have sussed out why this is such a common problem!) and inability to sweat. The tongue is often enlarged, and when protruded, fills the entire space between the corners of the lips.
Iodine can be used to treat conditions associated with excessive production of scar tissue such as keloid, Peyronie's disease and Dupytron's contracture.
Refs: Much of the above I have learned through attending lectures by Dr Jorge Flechas (Nov 2011) and Dr David Brownstein. For further information about Dr Brownstein's work, see Transdermal Iodine on the website Alkalize For Health
- Iodine Resources page on Breast Cancer Choices, Inc., a nonprofit organization "scrutinizing the evidence for breast cancer procedures and treatments"
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